Rick Keene Music Scene – There Is ‘No Woman’ Like Angela Harris

It is all about the roots after all …

Angela Harris knows all about the ‘roots’ of music. It is in her blood and DNA. In fact – Bluegrass and Country were all around her as a child …

Please listen below to my chat with Angela about her new disc;

A Woman Like Me.

Angela? What’s up?

 

 

Visit Angela Here !

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Rock for Dimes This Friday !

Raising money for the March of Dimes via Rock n Roll.

Pretty cool …

Hosting Rock for Dimes 2014

Every year in several Canadian cities – corporate guys and gals get together and put on a Rock show.

This year, in Montreal – the event takes place on November 16th at The Corona Theater. It promises to be a night to remember and another big total of money raised for the March of Dimes Canada.

Please listen below to my chat with Marc Dore – chairperson for Rock of Dimes Montreal.

Marc? What’s up?

Visit Rock for Dimes Here

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Hey Dweezil! Where Did You Find That One? Concert Review

How do you describe Frank Zappa’s music?

Easy. A blend of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Genesis, Yes, Rush, The Ramones, The Kinks, the Beatles and every artist between 1920 until present day.

Frank Zappa’s brilliance as a writer, producer, arranger, guitar player and every other position within an intellectual realm artistically and socially was put on display via Dweezil Zappa in Laval last night. Epic could be the best way to describe the evening.

The Purple Lagoon, Andy and Don’t You Want a Man Like Me opened things up along with the punter’s minds who were not far behind in realizing music exists beyond corporate radio. The name of this tour is Choice Cuts. An insight into the non commercial world of Frank Zappa. Given Frank’s songs were mostly non radio friendly, choosing ‘choice’ tracks should be easy.

Think again …

Firstly – Dweezil’s Muthas are not your Father’s band. When each player within a band could headline on their own – something special is on the way. Dweezil himself – one of the finest guitar players ‘off the beaten path’ and an astute songwriter to boot. Detach the Zappa moniker and all it’s expectations – Dweezil could very well be in the same breath as Vai, Satriano et al. in the mainstream conscientiousness. Frank probably would want it this way and ensure the Zappa legacy maintains musical integrity.

As the show moved along – perhaps the ladies initially stole the show. Vocalist Cian Coey and multi – instrumentalist Scheila Gonzalez were on fire. Frank Zappa’s tunes contained whimsical female voices along with serious style. Both Scheila and Cian added their parts with conviction. Cian alone – stealing the spotlight throughout the evening with power, finesse and grace. An indication the ‘top forty’ radio female vocalists are nowhere near the best. Scheila no slouch either as her vocals more than impressed and her Sax playing otherworldly. Frank would be proud.

Call Any Vegetable, Tell Me You Love Me and T’Mershi Duween. Three more tunes which only the die hard Frank fans know aside from the band.

Drummer Ryan Brown, bassist Kurt Morgan, Chris Norton on keys and guitarist / vocalist Adam Minkoff were on the same bus. Travelling the Zappa songbook at light-speed. Shining alone when called upon and perfectly in sync with grooves as sweet as the most perfect five hour Funk jam. The completeness allowing Dweezil to do his thang.

Steve Vai was one of Dweezil’s teachers back in the day. Frank Zappa was one of Dweezil’s muses. Dweezil has worked with every guitar player worth their weight in gold. Nothing could go wrong within a solo and Dweezil’s own curiosity to grow as an artist – adds to the special moments when Dweezil takes the spotlight.

Suzy Creamcheese, Valley Girl, Zoot Allures, Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow and Joe’s Garage – the show and the intensity continued.

Serious musicians playing serious licks. Only the students of music can understand and appreciate Dweezil’s (The Muthas) take on his Father’s songs. Only serious students of music can appreciate Frank Zappa and his genius.

They can describe Frank Zappa’s music …

Visit Dweezil Here !

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Jake Burns Still Has ‘Stiff Little Fingers’

Some bands fall through the cracks as far as recognition goes. Stiff Little Fingers are one of those bands.

Born at the height of Punk music’s global popularity, the band emerged from a Country that was not known for Rock music.

‘I have no doubt there were many talented musicians and songwriters in Ireland …” Says original and current member and songwriter Jake Burns. ” Due to the fear factor of losing jobs (that were few and far between) and the non acceptance of Northern Ireland musicians due to the political unrest in Ireland, sadly many chose or were forced to stay put.”

Stiff Little Fingers, a group of schoolboy friends formed in 1977. A time when groups such as The Ramones and The Sex Pistols were gaining momentum. It was another band however which many comparisons were made.

“Everyone kept telling us we sounded like The Clash and we were asked if they were a huge influence.” Says Burns on the eve of their November 10th show in Montreal. “We never really spoke with the guys from The Clash and wondered if they took us as a threat or admired us.”

Four albums in three years starting in 1979 saw the band emerge as a voice of unrest for not only the people of Ireland – the entire world. Punk music and Stiff Little Fingers were affecting fans and non fans alike.

“When I started writing songs, I had a little difficulty coming up with ideas and they were forced’ Says Burns. ” I spoke with someone and once I realized it is important to write what you know – that is when things changed for me as a songwriter and the band.

Stiff Little Fingers then suffered the same fate as many bands. Knowing each other for so long and being on the road and always together, the fighting started.

” All these years later, in hindsight – all we needed to do was to take a step back and we would have been fine …” Admits Jake. ” It was not about dislike, it was about the stress of the business and a lot of pressure to maintain a band.”

In 1987, following a hiatus and Jake partaking in a solo effort and collaborations, Stiff Little Fingers reunited and despite the words of the music business; The Fingers embarked on what would become a very successful tour in Germany to sold out crowds. Burns and the band have never looked back.

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Since their reformation, Stiff Little Fingers have released six albums with the last being the critically acclaimed 2014’s ‘No Going Back’.

Jake Burns still follows the recipe of writing what he knows for success.

” I went through some major life changes such as a divorce and relocation to a different continent and I did not think anyone would want to listen to a middle age guy sing about a mid-life crisis and divorce. Luckily I was wrong …”

Stiff Little Fingers are in Montreal Saturday night November 10th at Foufounes Electriques.

Get Tickets Here !

Visit Stiff Little Fingers Here

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Reuben and The Dark; A Musical Success For Album Number Two

Rarely does a band come along which evokes feelings of hope within despair. Reuben and The Dark are that band.

Just five years in and (now) two albums under their belts, Reuben and the Dark are setting Canada on fire as they tour the vastness.

Arms of a Dream is their latest recorded offering and in 2014 they released their ‘rookie’ disc; Funeral Sky.

Please listen below to my chat with Reuben Bullock about the new disc and hear some great tunes !

Reuben? What’s up?

Visit Reuben Here !

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Barbra Lica Is ‘A Little Bit Country’ On Her New Album

The word Jazzify is now a new thing …

Barbra Lica is one of the fastest -rising Jazz singers in Canada. Her last album – I’m Still Learning’, gained Barbra a Juno nomination for best Jazz album.

Stick to Jazz Barbra! Right?

Wrong.

By mistake – Barbra stumbled into Country music while learning her songwriting craft. The rest is present-day history.

Please listen below to my chat with Barbra and hear some great tunes from the new album; You’re Fine.

Barbra? What’s up?

 

 

Visit Barbra Here !

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – A Zappa Doesn’t Fall Far From The Zappa Tree. PART TWO

Frank Zappa was all about artistic integrity. His son Dweezil is also …

Authenticity within sound is crucial to creating and delivering the art of music. Both Zappas live by that credo.

Please listen below to  Part Two of my chat with Dweezil Zappa as we chat about various topics including Frank Zappa’s foreshadowing. 

Dweezil? What’s up?

 

Visit Dweezil Here !

 

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – A Zappa Doesn’t Fall Far From The Zappa Tree.

Playing guitar very well must be a DNA thing …

Frank Zappa’s son Dweezil, is a chip off the old block even though it is not sought out. Call it instinct, call it learned behavior or call it genetic – the artistic blood does circulate and will eventually come out in layered colors.

Please listen below to  Part One of my chat with Dweezil Zappa. Topics include his Dad, his guitar playing and many other interesting tidbits. Stay tuned for Part Two. 

Dweezil? What’s up?

 

Visit Dweezil Here !

 

 

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Druckfarben – Old School Prog Rock

There are a three things one should not do on acid …

The first –  drive a moped around the skeleton of a skating rink – with or without ice. The second most inane thing possible?  Listen to ‘ Several Small Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict’ by Pink Floyd.

The third? Listen to the inaugural album by Canadian band Druckfarben.

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Unless of course a listener would like to relive the glory days of bands like Yes and Genesis. Then by all means, take a hit or two and brace for a psychedelic journey through the recesses of your mind. Welcome to the Druckfarben zone. It is 1971 and Fragile may be your state of mind …

The band consists of Troy Feener on drums, Peter Murray on vocals and bass, Ed Bernard on guitars, mandolin and vocals, William Hare on keyboards and Phil Naro on vocals. These guys know how to hit a forty – something music fan directly in their memory bank. If a memory still exists.

Yes’ great song ‘Roundabout‘, injects acoustics, a great bass line by Squire and keys into such great harmony, it is no wonder the song hit #13 on the charts for the legendary progressive rock group from England. Druckfarben’s first song, ELPO – continues the journey where Yes stopped their Purple Microdot trip.

ddnaro6Hare’s non – fragile fingers introduce a listener to Murray’s bass and Feener’s drums. Something is building. Something is reaching a crescendo. Suddenly, the bass and Bernard’s guitars settle into a fine machine before a sound unlike a combination of early Rush and Genesis takes control. Free form instrumental grabbing the ears and tossing them into track two.

Influenza will freak even the most hardened hippy out.

Vocalist Phil Naro sounds so much like Ian Anderson on this song, a trip down the corridors of post-Beatle high school takes place with Gentle Giant nearby. The bass is so quick and driving, keyboards so uplifting, the whole of the song is one journey inexplicably contained within itself. Every instrument taking turns. Improving with each toss and indentation of the chord. No stopping now. Pink elephants or not …

‘Smaller Wooden Frog’ starts with a Stanley Kubrick – styled piano intro. Evilness seems near yet the song soon implodes to an anthem. Rising guitar high with hope is soon counter balanced by a bass line. The enemy of the song. The arch-rival. A duel takes place – a tale of two very talented musicians nearing the proximity of their heightened powers. Finally – Naro settles things in much the same fashion as Anderson / Gabriel would have. Naro nears perfection within this gilded band.

‘Dead Play Awake’, the second longest track on the disc at 6:47 sounds familiar. It has a likeable element. Bernard’s guitar is that element. It soars around like a bird on a happy journey. Flying above Naro’s once again impeccable vocals. It appears each song is an epic tale of several years experience through these men who have managed to arrest time in the form of navigating the waters of oh so bad 2013 music.

‘Walk Away’ should not have its own name.

It is a continuation of Dead Play Awake. This is not a knock, it is a component of reality. Dead Play Awake was a tale and Walk Away is the fabulous climatic ending. Druckfarben’s finishing touch. A finale worthy of open arms greeting a sunrise following a black stormy night. The beauty of the band’s ability to toss aside trends and dead – end music executives like pebbles from their shoes.

‘Seems So Real’, the beginning keys – reminiscent of ‘Gravity’ by Max Webster. A little but not really. An acoustic guitar serenades Naro’s voice. An acoustic guitar sets the tone for a soothing serenade only the way this group could. Balladry Druckfarben style …

‘Nat Nayah’ is such a beautiful continuation. With apologies to Naro or perhaps kudos, eyes closed – Ian Anderson is fronting a millennium version of Yes illuminated by illuminating keyboards, strong beats and melodic chord interplay by a guitar ripe with creativity.

If a weak song exists, it is Sons of Anakin. On this album.

A tribulation. A canvas of which to paint tools of the trade winds. It offers nothing new nor old. It exists as is. It exists as a sometime Frank Zappa jam.

Sometimes the end can be the beginning. ‘Nonchalant’ is the start of a career. Druckfarben’s ‘piece of non – resistance.

A mandolin – led force which enters strong and soft. The song will take a breath and suspend it in time. A song for lovers. A period piece for the romantic inclinations stuck too often amid the fog of the world’s imposing ways. Genesis once sang a beautiful song named Ripples.

Druckfarben makes them come back …

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David Henman; The Man Behind the Wine – Part One

Once upon a time …

In a galaxy far, far away from iPods.

Two cousins sat down in the Old Mill Tavern in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The year was 1969. They ordered a pitcher of beer and complained of the lack of momentum their music had gathered.

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They thought of putting a new group together. A band which would consist of the brother of one of the beer drinkers on drums and the other; a former member of the other ale quaffer’s band.

They ‘stole’ the singer / guitarist away from his band in Cape Breton, started rehearsing in one of their parents’ basements in Sackville and – just like that, one of Canada’s most successful rock bands were born …

The men in question were David Henman on guitars and vocals, Ritchie Henman on drums, Jim Henman on bass and Myles Goodwyn on vocals and guitars. The name of the band …?

April Wine

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” Myles agreed to join us, and we had planned to start out as a cover band. That all changed the moment Myles played us a couple of songs he wrote.” Says David Henman. “All of us have slightly different memories of how we formed but these are the basic facts.”

According to David ; Myles, long known as the leader and principle songwriter of April Wine, took control from the beginning in the songwriting department.

“He very quickly established himself as the most gifted and most driven musician and songwriter in the group. No one questioned that fact.”

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April Wine hosted a lot of their own shows in the early days and one of the very first gigs Henman remembers was for a theatre group. The band had became involved with the actors at the Neptune Theatre and wrote music for a 13th (?) century play called; “The Lion in Winter.”

Aside from particular items like the above, Henman’s memories of the first four years of the group are vague. He does remember being obsessed with writing songs and recalls why he and Myles were worlds apart in their songwriting ideas.

” Myles was more commercially – oriented and I was more experimental.” States Henman on the two very different approaches to songwriting.”I was also into music like Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa while Myles was into r and b and blues.”

Goodwyn’s technique is apparent from the start of Wine’s career. ‘Fast Train‘ was one of the first songs Myles wrote and evolved into the band’s first hit. A song which to this date – remains David’s all time favourite April Wine song.

A fast train was what April Wine was now on in the music business. The year was 1970 and things were going quicky …

“We signed with Terry Flood management and Aquarius records.” Says David . “We recorded our first album; ‘April Wine’, with Bill Hill producing. The second one – ‘On Record’, was produced by Ralph Murphy and it marked the first without my cousin.”

Jim Henman, one of the founding members – left and was replaced by Jim Clench.

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As the band were recording their third album; ‘Electric Jewels‘ – David and Ritchie left the band in a mutually – decided split.Myles was now the last original member when he and Clench decided to keep the band going …

“I was invited to join a reformed April Wine but my brother wasn’t.” Says David . “Ritchie and I have always been pretty loyal to each other, so I decided to abstain”. All these years later, David Henman has no regrets for his decision to not rejoin the band just before they hit it big.

“No. No regrets. I was young and given to temptation. My sense is that I ‘d have ended up a casualty ( of rock ).” Declares David.

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Despite the split, David and Ritchie have kept in touch over the years with Myles. David says they are, in many respects – a family.

” I have been a fan and an admirer of Myles Goodwyn from day one. We often run into each other and these past couple of years he has invited me to join the band on stage.” An offer which Henman took with a smile.

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Ritchie and David Henman’s departure from one of the-soon-to-be iconic Canadian Rock Bands did not dissuade the duo from carrying on.

The brothers formed a band named ‘Silver’ following their departure and the band played constantly for a couple of years. The music was a mixture of covers and David Henman originals. Once that music formation ran it’s course, the brothers discovered themselves playing with a familiar name to April Wine fans;

‘All the Young Dudes’, the brother’s new band which performed all originals during it’s year of existence, featured Bob Segarini and a young guitar player named Brian Greenway ( Brian eventually landed with April Wine in 1977 and remains to this day).

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In 1976, David then struck out on his own with ‘The Debutantes’.

Between then and now – bands with names like; ‘Sensible Shoes’,’ Dancer’ and ‘The Business’ came and went.

Finally, in 2003, David Henman starting recording and playing under his own name. Something he continues to do in his basement studio in Bolton, Ontario.

In a galaxy far,far away from turntables!

Please stay tuned for part two and more of Henman’s story ….

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Photos courtesy of David Henman